Zu Warriors from the Magic
I think this was Tsui Hark's first breakthrough
fantasy film and it seems that he had been storing up ideas and images
for years and let them out here in an explosion of color, brilliant images,
flying people and imagination. The film is a bit aged in that the special
effects seem cheesy compared to what is done now, but the imagination and
story still make it special.
Yuen Biao is a common foot soldier who becomes
disgusted with an endless war between two factions from Zu (watch for his
"fight" with Sammo Hung) and so jumps over a cliff to find refuge &
peace. Instead he finds himself in the middle of an apocalyptic battle
between Good & Evil. Not too surprisingly, Yuen chooses the side of
good. His mission is to travel to the Cave Beyond to find the Twin Swords
that can destroy Evil.
On his journey he comes across the never more
lovely Brigitte Lin, looking like a spectacular Hindi princess, who is
the Countess in the Fort in the Sky - which looks like some sumptuous
MGM 1950's musical set. Yuen continues his mission with the fierce Moon
Lee at his side to take up the final fight. Just great stuff. That's also
Sammo in all those whiskers. This is considered a classic adventure film
for good reason.
NB - In an article for Asian Cult Cinema, Dr Craig
Reid quotes Tsui Hark as saying "Nine months after filming Zu, during postproduction,
I realized that about 50 shots were missing. Apparently a line producer,
without my knowledge had edited out the scenes from the script. I offered
Golden Harvest to let me re-shoot and re-edit the project for free. They
declined my offer. Zu could have been a much better film. It has fast action,
but it wasn't fancy"